As dyslexic Black man with ADHD, Wesley Faulkner has maneuvered through difficult challenges in the personal and professional realm that have challenged him. But lately, he’s creating his own path, paving the way to inclusion and acceptance.
TAMAR: Hey, everybody, I am delighted. I’m so excited I have one of my older friends in the podcast realm, at least as far as the people I’ve interviewed. Wesley Faulkner from Texas. Hi, thank you so much for joining me.
WESLEY FAULKNER: Thank you for having me. It’s an honor to be able to be a guest on your show.
TAMAR: Yeah, yeah . I I’m very, very honored that you’re here. It’s been amazing. We’ve worked together, we’ve kind of had these experiences together. And we met it up like SXSW conference in 2009, 2007. It’s been a crazy, crazy trajectory for us. And I guess that kind of leads into where are you now? I guess you’re in Texas. Talk a little bit about that and tell everybody where you’ve kind of come from and where you are today.
WESLEY FAULKNER: Yes, I’m in Texas. I’m in Austin, specifically. I have a wife and two kids. They’re very young daughters. They’re eight and five. I’ve had an interesting journey through technology from being on the repair side, like working on computers, like cracking them open and replacing components and like reinstalling operating systems to working on high end, flying out to multibillion dollar companies and fixing their systems to marketing, to talking to people who are end users and now I’m on kind of the merger of technology and marketing and dev rel. My job is to explain the usage of the building blocks of technology for the next startup or company to build something amazing for their customers on top of our technology and the specific company that I work for. And I do that for Daily, you’ll find them at daily.co it’s an video API that allows basically any company or any developer to integrate video into their application or their website.
TAMAR: Cool, cool. Awesome. So, in the context that we’ve known each other both personally, professionally, you’ve had, I guess, your fair share of struggles and whatever. And I don’t know if that ties into your rise above adversity story, but I know you probably have one that you want to share. So go and talk to me, let me know a little more.
WESLEY FAULKNER: Well, I would say, I’m not rising above it, I feel like I’m making my way through it. I think that adversity just kind of morphs and changes, and the shading may be a little bit different. And I feel like the fight is ongoing. I don’t feel I can ever let my guard down in terms of adversity because it comes in different forms. Sometimes it’s self-esteem. Sometimes it is negative thought that comes externally. Sometimes it’s just waking up in the morning, or sometimes it’s just writing an email. There’s different forms that I struggle with, I don’t think we’ve covered it, but I have dyslexia, also ADHD. And through that, it’s really taking a toll on my mental illness. And when I say illness, I take it as an illness of health in general, like people would say that they get sick and they catch something, I feel mental illness can be the same thing where we all struggle with mental illness from time to time, and it shouldn’t be stigmatized. Only a subset of people get it. I think it’s one of those things where we all get it, we all struggle. Some very seriously, some maybe not, but it’s something that is a spectrum. And just like my learning disabilities, as it’s considered my neuro diversity, it started off in school where I could not learn to read. For the longest time I think I started reading when I was in the middle of third grade.
WESLEY FAULKNER: So I was eight plus and one day it just clicked and it was one of those things where it wasn’t. It was the concepts that I couldn’t grasp. It was just it felt like out of reach. And there was never an adjustment to say, hey, he’s struggling with this way of learning. So let’s try this new way, it was always just rinse and repeat, rinse, repeat, rinse and repeat. And it kind of, I would say, that’s definitely the start of my journey because I had to find my own way. In a world that was not meant for me, that wasn’t going to change for me, and wasn’t going to adapt to how I operated.
WESLEY FAULKNER: And the school system is definitely like a good example of cookie cutter where the plan is made. And it doesn’t matter who is going to be going through the system. It’s just really fixed. You can have some really good teachers, and they try really hard. But what they do is gently reinforce the plan there, or gently try to be empathetic, and then reinforce the plan. They’re having the rubric structured in a way where it’s just so rigid. It wasn’t until I got into high school, I went to a gifted and talented high school called Jesse H. Jones Vanguard in Houston. And because every single class was an honors class, they allowed us and gave us the freedom of doing assignments in three different ways. You could do it very visually, you can do a presentation and performative or you can do written assignment instead. So having that flexibility allowed me to not only lean on my creativity , but lean on other people who are around me, and get inspiration and understand there is better ways. And there are different ways of looking at things and still accomplishing that same goal. But even at that point, I had no idea of my diagnosis. I didn’t get diagnosed until I went to college, my freshman year. I was in a fraternity and there was a mixture between and there’s a sorority, and I met my first girlfriend of college, her name is Christina, we dated for a while. And her mother was a special ed teacher. Christina herself, had ADHD. And it wasn’t until going over to her plays, going to her house and talking to her that her mom realized that there was something different about me, it’s because we started together. And it was almost apparent to her. And she suggested I get tested. And so I did get tested. First for dyslexia and ADHD, and then I was able to start getting accommodations in college. So I can get extra time on tests and have some dedicated resources. But still, it was one of those things, and this this happens to me all the time still, where it is a combat on me to know exactly what I need. And to be able to ask for it. There wasn’t resources to kind of pull together best practices or tools and tips. I was basically still on my own, but just in a different way. And one in which I had to be my own advocate. And yeah, I wish I knew then what I know now about some of the adversities of being the way I am because it’s hard to explain. Just like a native speaker trying to teach someone else how to speak another language. Some things just sound right but you don’t know why. Because maybe you don’t have the full grasp of what is a verb, what is a noun? What is a transitive and like how things work. But you just know the rules because you lived in it. Or if you’re colorblind, and someone is trying to explain color to you, you’re not coming from the same palette to describe that. Yeah, and I didn’t I knew I was different because people told me I was different. But I didn’t fully grasp until I started doing my own self education. About this is what neurotypical is, this is what neuro diversity is, and just understanding the difference, like reading that people can’t look at something in their mind as a 3d object and being able to rotate it and look at all angles. I was like, can everybody do that? Apparently no. I didn’t. So there are things about the way that I think the way that I take things in the way that I digest it, that even now, I’m just like, really, that is unique to me. And it’s hard to explain, we’re in 2020, we all dealt with this whole COVID thing, and we’re still dealing with it now. But an even longer fight is this Black Lives Matter awareness. And it’s the same thing where my own skin, my own identity, is something that’s hard to grasp, with some people, with my struggle, and with my continuous struggle on multiple fronts. And when you start from zero, with someone who knows nothing about this subject or this life, frankly, it can be very burdensome, and very onus on me to try to explain it, especially if there’s not that type of curiosity on their point, their part to really understand and be empathetic. So every job that I’ve had, it’s been a fight to say, hey, this is me, this is how I operate. And most of the time, I’ve found myself not being accepted for who I am. And that kind of makes me feel like I am the odd one out. There’s not a place for me, kind of school, the school structure, work and work structure. I think a lot of people feel like, this is what work is. And I hope that tech would be a little bit more flexible. But it’s still growing. I’m still trying to be my best advocate, at the same time, the awareness of neuro diversity in even inclusion, and multiple ways that diversity now means it’s still a fight. And I’m lucky that the company I’m at right now, Daily can not only understand, but fully embrace and comes with that curiosity on a daily basis.
TAMAR: Yeah, that’s great. So I had a couple thoughts. I mean, of course, millions of thoughts. First of all, obviously, it’s a shortcoming in the education system that teachers don’t spot these things, they don’t nurture it early. So it’s unfortunate that you found out in the first year of college. So, it’s almost annoying, and I’m kind of pissed off for you because that was unfair to you. But at the same time, it’s good that you finally found that I guess, sense of closure. I just interviewed somebody like two weeks ago, or three weeks ago, Sasha Raskin. And she was like, I went to bed and like, I have a panic attack. And I always thought that that was normal. I thought everybody has a panic attack. And like you, you don’t know, necessarily that something was wrong, like, our world, our universe is how we experience the world. How are we supposed to know otherwise? So there’s that challenge. And that struggle is very real, but yeah, like you said, there’s so many different ways to do things. And it’s the fact that you went to high school, that kind of experiences allows you to do things like visually, auditorily, written, I think that’s amazing. And I wish more people would, there’s that sense of empathy or understanding to accept the fact that we are different. Right now on Facebook, you might have seen it, there is a meme of how somebody would draw a star, your five star. And for me, I know how I do it, but the idea of it, and I’m going to just explain it for anybody who doesn’t know. And if you don’t know, you might have seen it on our friend, our mutual friend Laura Fenton‘s, Facebook.
WESLEY FAULKNER: Yeah, where the points are numbered.
WESLEY FAULKNER: You draw them in a certain order of numbers like 1,3,5.
TAMAR: Yeah, yeah. And for me, I’m just like, here’s one for whatever. But then I realized that in my head, I did it wrong. And I put myself in the wrong position. But yeah, the thing is that not everybody draws it that way. Some people they’ll start on the bottom right, some people will start on the top left. And oh, for me, I started in the bottom left, so everyone’s like mind blown. Like you think that everybody does it the same way, but you don’t because our brains are wired differently. There’s another thing, maybe three or four years ago, and maybe I’m getting this wrong, but I’m going to try. When you think to yourself, do you have words in your head, do you know?
WESLEY FAULKNER: No words. So with dyslexia. So the brain kind of has this part that does, basically symbol translation or transfer. It allows you to see a symbol and recognize it really quickly, without even thinking basically.
WESLEY FAULKNER: And that portion of my brain basically doesn’t exist. And so it’s almost like when you play a video game, it needs a really good graphics card, and you don’t have a graphics card. So it has to use your CPU or your processor and so it goes really, really slow. But you’re able to see it, but you don’t have something to offload that work. And I’m very, very techie. So that’s a very computer term.
TAMAR: Yeah, yeah.
WESLEY FAULKNER: And so, it takes a lot of work for me to decode sentences and symbols. And so usually, I really think about things visually. So I’ll play a play in my head, I’ll walk through steps, I just basically reenact my thinking. But in combination with ADD, it’s almost like when they say, changing TV channels, it’s like that I’ll have an image, something totally different. And it’ll go through, depending on how I’m feeling that day. And so I think a lot ADD people take it as being very distracted. But it’s actually a swap between being extremely focused and extremely distracted. And going between both of those when you’re ADHD. And so if it’s something that I’m super passionate about, I’ll just go on deep, and everything else falls away. And that’s when you start missing emails, deadlines, meet at meetings, notifications, you forget to eat that kind of thing. And some of it’s like, super distracting which I have to write a paper and I can get the title, but then I have to check my email. But then I need to pay bills, or all of this stuff can just get in the way of that. So mentally, I really do think of images and it’s played in a sequence. So it is more of moving in images or actions happening rather than words or pictures.
TAMAR: Yeah, but it turns out that it’s not necessarily limited to people with dyslexia, like, I think it works mostly in words. I’m not entirely sure what the alternative is, honestly. I think that’s another mind blowing moment, like when this was discovered the fact that people didn’t realize there’s another way to live. Like there’s another way to function. And it’s the same thing, like I don’t think there’s a sense of acceptance and understanding that our lives are not the way other people necessarily live like. And literally these are mental processes. Forget about the fact that we’re talking about socio economic types of things here, like, the way we are made is different, like, one of my biggest struggles, maybe my biggest weakness is I’m not so great at listening. And I remember like, when I took my aptitude tests when I was younger, like we had this scholastic, whatever Stanford achievement test, I know that yeah, maybe it was just our little essay test back before. They were not, though.
WESLEY FAULKNER: Who knows? You weren’t listening, Sir.
TAMAR: Yeah, yeah, I wasn’t listening. Exactly. What was it? Was it Stanford? What’s the biggest?
WESLEY FAULKNER: Is it CT?
TAMAR: Yeah. What is the normal CT?
WESLEY FAULKNER: Standardized? I don’t know something or other.
TAMAR: So okay, we had the Stanford.
WESLEY FAULKNER: Aptitude Test?
TAMAR: Yes. Okay. Whatever it is. So we had in grade school, like probably up to like sixth grade, we had these achievement tests where we were evaluated in reading comprehension. We were evaluated in listening and we were evaluated in Math. My Math was always very, very good. My reading comprehension wasn’t so great because of my listening, and my listening was always really very poor. And eventually I had to learn that to kind of nurture that muscle to really focus, focus, focus, but it was outside of my normal realm of aptitude. And overtime, I was able to build it up but still, I’m not so great at it, for example, honestly, I multitask. I’m such a multitasker and like my body gravitates toward multitasking, that it’s so difficult to have meetings, zoom meetings, I can’t do an agenda on a regular basis because for me, it’s a lot more exhausting to meet with people than to do my other things because I can achieve so much more in so less time. So, I appreciate Zoom culture so much because we’re doing so much more. But I’m also getting a lot less done. So lately, I tried not to have meetings anymore, because I can’t do it. It’s just so emotionally taxing for me because I think it comes down to my inability to listen. And when I’m finally in a meeting, I still multitask anyway. It ends up being a half assed job on both sides, I have no idea what the meeting is usually about. And I don’t have no idea what I just accomplished. It’s really bad. Anyway, that’s an admission I didn’t necessarily want to make. But here we are. Okay, go for it.
WESLEY FAULKNER: I was going to say that it should be accepted as a different way of thinking, that’s all about Neurodiversity. It’s not necessarily, like I’m dyslexic, I’m ADHD. But Neurodiversity is about understanding that everyone thinks differently, everyone operates differently, and that ADHD is a bucket of some of these features, and you’re able to identify some of these points. And you might say that that is dyslexia. But we already have like shorthand for this, because we talk about people who are introverted and extroverted. And the same thing with people who are introverted, but still go to events, where you wouldn’t necessarily know that they’re introverted, because they’re participating. But they’ll go back to their hotel room and just pass out because you’re exhausted, because it takes a certain amount of effort to do some of the things that might come easily to someone else.
WESLEY FAULKNER: And it’s not a bad trait to be introverted, but it’s something that we have put some sort of stigma attached to it, even though it’s just a description. This is not good or bad. It’s just is. And that’s kind of what I’m trying to do in terms of being really transparent about my labels by just saying that, labels don’t need to necessarily mean, need to be bad. Different doesn’t mean bad, just different. It’s just different. And being able to accept yourself and being able to have other people accepting, oh, do we really want Tamar to be in this meeting? Because maybe she can be more productive doing something else that we can send her the notes, or maybe she can attend for the first half, and then she can pile out after her parts done. I think if we all could be flexible around everyone’s styles and how everyone operates, I think the world would be a better place.
TAMAR: Yeah, I’ve worked in organizations and companies where yeah, meeting attendance was mandatory enough that I pushed myself out, I bowed out. And thus I basically shirked some response, potential promotions. I basically demoted myself, at several companies, because I just couldn’t sit through these meetings. And I don’t think that my ability is less. It’s just that, yeah, that that particular function just doesn’t suit me. And I mean, it’s an interesting challenge I was having as far as transparency. I mean, I have to say kudos to you. I was having a conversation last week. And yes, it was on Zoom. We’ve connected with somebody on another thing. I’ve done just a few of these, I’ve really minimized them. But about a few months ago, I did this like women’s, it’s called SheAO, s,h,e, a,o. And it’s basically for women entrepreneurs. And it’s like a community of active people, they help each other whatever, they promote each other. It’s actually really cool venture. And there’s like you pay for you typically pay for it. I’m not a paid member, but I tried it out. And I was ultimately thrown into a room with like, seven of us and I started sharing my story and someone’s like, oh, let me talk to you. I think she might have potentially been trying to recruit me because she’s gotten so much publicity since then. I think that’s great. But maybe not. But I connected with her last weekend, like, we were sharing our story. And she’s like, I’ve basically gone through the depression as well, and I totally get it. And I started to realize and she also admits that she’s been very transparent about her story. And I realized she and I are effectively like the CEOs, we sit at the head of the table in our company, and thus, it’s a lot easier because, we’re not going to be potentially demoted or anything like that for sharing, something that people would perceive as a weakness. And I realized that most people who are working for others are afraid to do it because they feel that there is potential stigma that they’re going to be not respected as much. So I have to say again, kudos to you for that, I think more people need to do it. I just actually wrote a whole entire thing about this last night at like two o’clock in the morning. So let me pull it up, I think there’s a lot of benefits that you can get from it. Number one is, you are seen as a lot more approachable because you’re doing it. Number two, it gives you confidence to do it because of that validation that you’ll get from other people. And number three, like it could potentially open new doors, the fact that you’re sharing something, and that you’re coming out there could like, in your case and Daily like you, it potentially has given that opportunity to you because there is an understanding, as you said that they’re navigating that and they’re totally welcoming it. And they understand that there is diversity out there in the workforce. And the other thing was like, there is a sense of having accessibility. People have confided in me because I am basically being vulnerable enough for other people to be like, yeah, I’ve gone through depression too. Or I have a family member who’s depressed, do you have any recommendations for them? So, because it’s so stigmatized, and therefore it’s not publicized. And if you start publicizing it, people will be like, oh, that individual’s more relatable, let’s make it happen. And let me share my story. And there might be additional respect, obviously, that comes down to making sure that when you actually show up to work you perform. If you talk about, I’m depressed and you don’t perform at work, then that’s the downfall. But if you say, hey, I have this thing, please be understanding, like I’m talking in the context of depression, I have Dyslexia, please have an understanding, that’s completely different. But if you’re depressed, and you’re like, okay, I’m going to show up to work, I’m not going to be happy, and I’m going to have a bad mood all day. Totally, that might blow back in your face. So I’m talking about in the context of like, specifically in depression, you do need to be open about that you struggled or you’re struggling, but make sure you still quote, unquote, show up. And I mean it in the sense of really truly showing up.
WESLEY FAULKNER: Yeah, I think generally, in society, at least here in America, specifically, it’s kind of like a flux between conformity and being unique, like you want to conform, but you also want to stand out. And we flow through this, and we kind of generally speaking, I think the mass populace wants to be in conformity of being with everyone else, but also want to be unique in terms of in that structure, you want to kind of be at the top, you want to because the sameness is also not obtainable. So perfection, smart, successful. All of that is the sameness that we don’t fit in. But that is what we consider, quote unquote, normal. But then you, if you are able to put yourself unique from things that are considered a greatness, like I saved a child from a burning building, I wrote a book, I started a movie, those uniqueness in terms of exceptionalism is seen as something that is the ultimate marker of success. And this other type of uniqueness of being able to express how you actually are is now seen as being brave, right? So just talking about, how you actually are, is seen as an act of bravery, and allows you to tap into those people who feel like they can’t be accepted or can hide. So it does put you in a certain type of class of uniqueness that is relatable or you become a beacon to all these other people who feel like they can’t talk, they can’t share. And they now say, hey, you did the thing that I couldn’t do. And so you’re brave. And I would like to talk to you because now I feel that it’s safe, that I could share the part of me that relates the part of you. And it’s sad that it has to be unique, but it’s one of those things where we all have it but not all of us can talk about it or feel safe to talk about it.
TAMAR: Right. And that’s what I’m trying to say, maybe it’s helpful to do that because there are benefits that you get out of it. But it’s unfortunate that it takes literally like you’ll probably have people confide in me but they’re not going to make it public because I think also the expectation is that everybody has to be professional and they can’t be human. It’s one or the other. Yeah, and I used to have a Facebook page, like, you could like me as a personality. But I decided to migrate everything into my personal space. And certainly, I limit my profile visibility to public for most people. These days, I don’t even promote, I don’t even share personal stuff, because I don’t want to. But like so basically, what you’re following is what you see, is what you get, because I’m going to be completely honest about it. But I don’t post that much. But the bottom line is that I put everything together because I realize I’m a whole person. And I’m not going to communicate only like, back in the day, I was like sharing cool links and stuff. That’s not even what I do these days. I’m just yeah, tomorrow, I’m watching a perfume brand based on the fact that I experienced depression and perfume saved my life. That’s the story, very short elevator pitch, if you will. And a lot of people just like, it’s extremely difficult to extricate the personal side or the professional to separate that. And to make it part of your being, just like you said, and I think we need to brace that we need to reshape that. I’m glad that there are strides, like we are seeing strides in our generation. My mother’s pretty traditional, and admissions of such things are definitely not things that my mother like. My father is a physician. So he has a little bit of medical understanding that this exists. But I remember back in the day when I first became depressed and like my teens, it was something that wasn’t something to talk about, really.
WESLEY FAULKNER: Yeah, and I think that’s why your story is so powerful about scents because you’re able to use something, put something on yourself that you can accept. I like that part of me, that’s carrying this with me. And I’m able to actually like this thing. And it’s something that kind of attaches to you because it matches with your body chemistry, and it can be very unique when you put it on. And so that’s why I love your story so much about having something external to reinforce your internal, but sorry, I interrupted, you were saying, please.
TAMAR: No, no, no. You’re 100% right. And listen, that’s how the podcast is supposed to be. I just haven’t been able to interrupt you because there’s a lot of value in what you’re saying in your story. And it’s hard to figure out how do I how do I break in? So it’s totally fine. Yeah, I am glad that my story has power. I just wish other people did it. But then again, that would put me in the quote unquote, normal range. And I kind of like, let me take it as it is, I’ll be happy that I’ve got this. And it’s a platform where people are like, thank you for being vulnerable. And like, you could do it too. There’s no reason for you not to. But yeah, like I said, I am going to embrace the fact that I have this. And so I guess it becomes so normal that everybody talks about how they’re flawed. And then we can proceed with figuring out something new. I don’t even know what’s going to be like, it’s like trying to find that the next unicorn in like five years, it’s seriously the same type of thing with the evolution of mental health if there ever is going to be an evolution and people are going to want to open up about what they go through and what they’re suffering internally and where people don’t necessarily have a window into that.
WESLEY FAULKNER: Yeah, I hope it’s one of the things that catches on, just seems so. So farfetched, I hope that the future cultures look at the video from now. And just like, wow, that is so different. Like when I watched the apple keynote yesterday, and people were wearing t shirts and jeans, right? And it’s like, how is that a business? How are they able to not have suit and tie for every presentation? And I think that’s, to me, seems super normal to see. But I would say, like 15 years, 20 years ago, it would have been really weird to see a presentation from one of the most valued and capable companies in the world just seem and appear very nonchalant and accessible. And I really hope that we all can get there someday.
TAMAR: Yeah, yeah. Let’s see how it plays out after 2020, the fact that I think 10% of the world was depressed before the pandemic and now it’s exceeded 30%. So, I mean, if anyone’s listening, first of all, I’m here. So you can always reach out to me and I want to be accessible myself. Given that I’ve went through that, gone through that struggle several times in my life. Second of all, hopefully, you’ll have the confidence to step out and say, hey, I suffered through pandemic related or it’s not even pandemic related depression, because you are not alone, 30 north of 30% is a lot of people. It’s crazy, I conduct myself as if nobody is dealing with it right now. But it’s because I don’t want to necessarily feel I’m working my way into something that’s pretty personal. And I want to be there to support but I just hope people could reach out if they feel they struggle. And hopefully, you’ll be able to pull yourself out and overcome. It’s difficult, but to that point, for me, overcoming came from a variety of self-care rituals that I’ve shared in the past podcasts. But I want to talk about your self-care ritual, if you will. Talk to me.
WESLEY FAULKNER: Before we do that, I just wanted to touch on what you were saying and just re bring up the article that I shared with you that you said, you saw,
TAMAR: Yeah, that’s true.
WESLEY FAULKNER: that 20% of people who have had COVID part of their recovery, quote, unquote, is that within 90 days of recovering that they experienced some mental illness. So, it’s not just something that is internal, you can’t deal with the world, it’s something that can happen to you, and no fault of your own. And in the US here, we’re at the mark, we’re like, we just crossed 10 million. And so if you take 20% of just that number, that’s 2 million people who are going to go through this, whether they like it or not. So the stigma needs to be removed in terms of suffering through this, because it’s going to happen, it’s possibly going to happen, and people just don’t talk about it. So that number is probably wildly reduced based on the stigma that we have about it. And people can’t even feel like they can express that. Or it’s so alien that people don’t recognize what they’re going through at the same time.
TAMAR: Yeah, just before you do that, I just want to just add that the study specifically show that there’s a first time, an increased first time diagnosis of anxiety, depression and insomnia by two-fold. So if that’s something to just keep an eye out for and it could be a result of pay the faculty with COVID. I don’t know. Yeah.
WESLEY FAULKNER: Yeah. My self-care is one that is all evolving, like, I feel I’m still fighting, I’m still learning about myself. So I do self-education still. So, that empowers me to be able to speak more about the subject from a place of authority rather than a place of speculation.
TAMAR: What are you self-educating, like?
WESLEY FAULKNER: How Dyslexia, Neurodiversity, the racial inequality, all of the things that I feel I struggle with. I just want to be able to not only just tell my story, but tell a more expansive, historical, context driven version for the whole world or at least in this country, about the development as we learn more about both Neurodiversity and marginalization, both from racial inequality and also the toxic masculinity and patriarchal structure that we all kind of live in. And so I read books, audio books on that subject regularly, and articles and follow people on that talk about this. So that’s something that’s really important to me to feel less alone and more informed, and a better educator and a communicator, and make sure that I can fight for acceptance of everyone around that. So, that’s one of the things that I do too, I do talk about it. So I do public speaking, I do podcasts like this one, talking about my experiences and helping to enlighten others as much as I can to do my small little part. And also, I work out, I move my body. I try to squeeze in a workout a day if I can, hopefully, and there’s some times where it falls off. On Wednesdays, I meet with a friend, we have like a mental health check where we talk about what we’re struggling with and what problems we’re having this morning. And on Fridays, I have an accountability buddy. So we talked about our health or fitness, what we’re eating, and how we’re feeling. And so we say we actually have a checklist thing. Did you do this? Did you do this? Did you do that, and knowing that, at the end of the week, I need to explain myself actually helps keep me motivated. So, those are the things that I do right now. And I am just now going to get some counseling that help work on myself. It’s been something I’ve been putting off for a long, long time. I’ve done it before in my life. But in this point, I think that I know a little bit more about myself that I can be a little bit more productive and working on me. So I will be adding that into the whole mix too. For self-care here.
TAMAR: Cool. So yeah, I want to expand upon accountability. So as a female founder, I actually, in February, somebody created an accountability group, I left that meeting and went into this one. So I’ve been doing it since February. And now we’re in November. And I have to say, there’s a lot of value in having a cadence with regular people. For us, it’s an intimate close knit group of four. Sometimes, we’re not always there, but we meet every single Wednesday, at 10 o’clock in the morning. And that, to me is extraordinarily helpful. I think anybody should do it. As far as accountability buddy, I definitely, yeah. 100% love the fact that you have so many, I’m glad you’re being accountable with them. I tried to do that with several people through the course of my life. And I think that there’s a benefit in having more than two people. So for anybody who’s listening, who’s like, that hasn’t worked in the past, tried to build it with a larger group. I also started an accountability group a few weeks ago, in a different group for founders. There were a lot of people who were interested, but I realized that there were so many people that were interested that we’re not going to accomplish anything. We’re just going to talk for an hour. Those are the two meetings that I’ll have, by female founder accountability and my other founder accountability group. But there’s 10 people who are interested in, you’ll never accomplish anything, and it’ll just be like a networking thing, which might help. But in time, people are going to start dropping off, and we’re going to get more intimate and close knit, and maybe that’s good, becomes a little more, if you will mastermind having that type of accountability to a level of making things happen. So I think that’s a benefit in general. But I would say, if you struggle having somebody because they’re not going to keep up with you, like every Friday, like the way you do, I think is amazing. Try to make a bigger group just to make it too big. That’s the moral of the story there. We’re still figuring it out at that one is for that one. As far as we’re going, I’m just kind of curious, what type of things do you do when you move your body.
So I did the 7-Minute Workout, it says it’s short. But it’s effective, like I feel it. But also, it’s short enough that darn it, it’s really has to be a big thing for me to skip it. Because I could do that in my office, I don’t have to go to a gym, I don’t have to use really any equipment. So it’s one of those things where, if it’s short, it should be something I should be able to fit my day. It’s not a big, audacious goal that feels like, oh, gosh, I need to change clothes, or I need to go outside or I need to get some weights or something. It feels like, alright, I’m between meetings, I got 10 minutes, I should be able to knock it out. I like that. And if I’m stumped, I’m writing an article and I just can’t think of the next thing, move my body a little bit and at least feel like that part is productive. And I feel good. I feel the endorphins. I feel even the little bit tensions, even pins of pain, knowing that I did something is a really good reminder that I’m trying to stay healthy.
TAMAR: Yeah, cool. I realized that working out has to happen. And I have to actually get dressed for it. That was how I positioned myself and I have to do it each day. So if that means a little bit low, I typically workout at night anyway. But lately, my workouts have been like 10:30, 11 o’clock at night. And I’m still working into the night, which is sort of insane. But it’s how it works for me. I don’t know everybody will find their way.
WESLEY FAULKNER: Yeah.
TAMAR: I used to use the 7 Minute Workout app also. But I decided that I need to vary things a little bit and I got bored of some of these things, Female Fitness is a great app, very basic. You can get it from the Android Store, a student’s is probably iOS version as well. And it’s all well and good, but the specific challenge is that it is kind of basic. So I started doing Orange Theory Fitness and then I did a paid Beachbody subscription. And I’m starting to work my way through the 60 minute, 80 minute at 80 Day Obsession sessions and I got them done. It’s the thing you got to make sure you make some time, however way it works.
WESLEY FAULKNER: Yeah, and you can have an accountability buddy. It allows me to sometimes explain away why you didn’t do something but having to verbally explain away to someone else is a little bit heavier.
WESLEY FAULKNER: But find your own motivation. Whether or not it’s getting the nice clothes or spending the two grand on a Peloton or whatever. That’s a little bit too much for me, but yeah, I think there’s many paths to achieving what you think you need.
TAMAR: Yeah, I went to the Peloton store and I did n’t like it. Probably because of the shoes. I have to try it again because it’s been so hyped up, I see peloton delivery vans, delivering all the time. So I’m like, what am I missing? Because I didn’t experience it the way they did. Whatever. Yeah.
WESLEY FAULKNER: Physical diversity.
TAMAR: Exactly. Yeah, yeah. And the other thing for me is that I work my ass off, I work out seven days a week. Whether or not I’m working out heavily is debatable. Like, I’ll take a walk, that’s a workout but I’ve literally worked out every single day since January 1 of this year. And I don’t necessarily show the same results as someone who might have started like a month ago, like these people are like, oh, look at me, I have six pack. I’m like, oh, look at me. It’s the last year, forget this year, this is just every single consecutive day since January 1, but I’m not showing it. I’m glad I’m doing it for myself. But the output is not necessarily as visible as I guess the inputs that some people are like, my inputs are probably higher. I don’t know. But like I said, it’s all about diversity, physical, mental, all the things. Yeah.
WESLEY FAULKNER: Yeah, it’s good to try to do it for yourself if you can, but it’s a whole societal norm thing, too, that we all have to figure out like, am I getting this tattoo for me to see, or I’m getting a tattoo to signal other people.
TAMAR: Right. And that’s also the sort of that idea fragrance for myself, that you wear it for yourself and not for others. So that’s the idea of my brands. And I want people not to over put too much. They’re like, oh, it smells so strong. Don’t spray, you can literally put half of a spritz and you’ll get a look at a whole day of impact. Like that’s the idea to keep and do it just for yourself, not to kill for fumes, they say it stinks a room sometimes, not my objective here. Yeah. All right. So I have one final question for you. And that’s if you can give an earlier version of yourself a piece of advice, what would you tell him? It’s the common scents question.
WESLEY FAULKNER: Hmmm.
TAMAR: I love the pause.
WESLEY FAULKNER: I would say don’t focus on the negative. Just really lean into the positive. It’s okay that you don’t fit into a box, is something that I would share. I have actually being a geek into sci fi, thought about what would happen if I could have a conversation with my past self. And that would just reinforce that I’m on the right path. I think I’ve always found my own way of doing things, way of thinking, way of going about things. And what we’re talking about before where people are obsessed with the process over the outcome? I feel that I need to reinforce that. Yeah, it’s the process that you come up with that will be seen as a template for others once the success is proven. And it’s been that way, time and time again, that I’ve gotten somewhere and someone says, how’d you get there or how did you do that? And then I explained it like that’s brilliant. That brilliance means something. That brilliance is part of my story, that brilliance, that work product is valuable. So, even though I heard a lot of naysayers, got a lot of pushback on this journey, the outcome is undeniable and the non-typical nonstandard way of getting here is golden. And even though it’s poo pooed during the time; I think that it works. It pays off to continue on my own path?
TAMAR: Cool. I love that. I appreciate that a lot. Awesome.
WESLEY FAULKNER: Thank you.
TAMAR: Yeah. Where can people find you?
WESLEY FAULKNER: First and foremost is Twitter. Wesley 83 onTwitter. You can find the company that I work for at daily.co and I do my own podcasts with a group of friends. I just joined this podcast recently. It’s called Community Pulse. It’s communitypulse.io, which is developer relations and community professionals, talking about what’s going on in the industry. But you might also find me on LinkedIn, but I really, really encourage people if you really want to talk and connect with me, Twitter‘s my preferred method.
TAMAR: Sweet. All right. Well, thank you so much for your time. It was so great to connect. And yeah, I really enjoyed this.
WESLEY FAULKNER: Yes, it’s really good to talk to you again, old Friend.
TAMAR: Yes, yes. Virtual hug.
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